When the Minnesota Vikings made him a third-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Josh Robinson seemed a little too raw to see significant snaps early on. Since taking over as the Vikings’ starting left cornerback, Robinson has been an absolutely liability in coverage.
As if his first year in Minnesota wasn’t bad enough, Robinson is quickly crushing any hopes the Vikings had that he could develop into a quality cover man in the near future.
Through seven games in 2013, Robinson has been a disaster. Of the 56 balls thrown into his coverage, 50 have been caught for 612 yards (12.2 average), 302 of which have come after the catch. He’s given up three touchdowns while only being credited with one pass breakup. When quarterbacks throw his way, they have a passer rating of 130.1.
According to Pro Football Focus, Robinson has earned a -9.4 grade in coverage, by far the worst among the Vikings’ defensive backs and third-worst in the entire NFL. No wonder teams thrive through the air when they play Minnesota.
Just look at Robinson’s Week 4 showing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when he allowed 13 of 15 targets to be caught for 140 yards. All day long, Antonio Brown exploited his subpar coverage. Although the Vikings still came away with their only win of the season, Robinson had nothing to be proud of after that game.
It’s not just his coverage that has been a liability, though.
Apart from his performance against the Carolina Panthers, Robinson has struggled when playing the run. He’s amassed 39 tackles on the year – only 16 of which have constituted an offensive failure – while missing six tackles. Pro Football Focus has given him a -0.5 run defense rating, which is second-worst among the Vikings’ defensive backs.
It’s still early in his NFL career, but the signs were apparent even before Robinson was drafted. He’s a speedster with a small frame and limited physicality. He routinely gets himself into bad situations with his poor footwork and decisions in coverage as his raw cornerback skills continue to hinder the Vikings defense.
The Vikings don’t need to cut Robinson or anything that drastic, but a decrease in snaps might be best for the second-year cornerback. Until he can get a better mental and technical grasp on the position, Robinson will continue to be a major liability for Minnesota.